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Member Highlight - Sharika Jain, an Independent Fashion & Beauty Content Creator

Hello! My name is Sharika Jain and my IG handle is @shopaholicsharika. I’m a fashion/beauty digital content creator. Career-wise, I am looking forward to writing the next chapter; which I began with my work as a Brand Strategist/ PR Consultant. At the end of 2019, I quit working as a PR Assistant at Calvin Klein in Japan. I was planning to start working at a new company in the beginning of 2020, but due to the current work climate; I pressed pause on looking for a new job. Instead, I realized that I like being able to create my own schedule and decide what kind of work I wanted to associate myself.

Tell us and our lovely readers what is it that you do?

I am a fashion beauty digital content creator, I used to work in a fashion company in the PR department. At the end of last year, I left the company; after being in quarantine for the last few months and looking for a new job; I realized I wanted to start something on my own. So this August I finally took the plunge and started Thread Your Story - ShopaholicSharika. My goal with this is to make it into a diverse PR agency, which sadly is a rare thing in Japan. Right now, it is just me but I want to build this into a company that has more creative people and to give them a chance in their early 20s; because work experience should not be above someone’s raw talent. 

The client roster that I want to work and collaborate with are small business owners in the fashion and beauty industry, who have the talent but aren’t on the digital marketplace yet. Hopefully with this I can encourage more South Asian entrepreneurs to take chances. Currently, I am working with a small jewellery brand (@gemconindia) and a yoga program (@skyyogajp) which are about to be launched this fall. 

As a fashion beauty digital content creator, I not only talk about the current fashion trends that I enjoy and my beauty/skincare junkie tendencies; I also share my journey with my mental health issues, cultural identity of being an Indian living in Japan.

What is your story? How did you end up here?

How I ended up here is a long story. About ten years ago, when I was in high school,  I started dealing with anxiety and depression. It stemmed from moving from a diverse international school in Tokyo to a conservative and traditional city in India. This move happened to ensure that I had the chance to understand my parents' upbringing before they migrated to Tokyo. But for me it was a complete culture shock, especially as my parents remained in Tokyo, while I lived India with my extended family who I had only met a few weeks a year during Summer Vacation trips to India. In the midst of all that was going around me and in my head, writing and the Arts were my escape.

As I grew up, my anxiety and depression followed me. Slowly I stopped doing the things I loved until back in 2018, when I started writing again, because for the first time in a while I had something I really wanted to talk about which wasn’t related to my college major. And that one day, I created ShopaholicSharika. 

My social media platform became my creative outlet, and it is a testament to how I grow and change as a person. My Instagram led me to a job at Calvin Klein; which was a dream come true. It happened in the most unexpected timing. Opportunities like this make me believe that if something or someone is destined to be a part of your life, it will happen if you’re patient and you work hard on yourself to be better everyday.

Do you have a “WHY” for why you do what you do?

The why for my social media platform, initially was because I did not see people who looked like me as content creators within my community. Two years in and I have had the opportunity to get to know more content creators who have similar stories; but there still aren’t many who are Indian and based in Japan. I want to use my social media platform to talk about fashion and beauty because I love how it is a form of art and to be honest; I want to change the mindset that talking about fashion and beauty is frivolous which is still the case in some Indian communities. Even within my family, my work in fashion raises eyebrows since I changed from going to law school to working at a company like Calvin Klein which is known for their iconic sensual advertisements.

As for why I started Thread Your Story, was because I saw a gap in how PR is approached. There is a saying that if you are in PR you have to have thick skin. Oftentimes, it’s because of how people can be mistreated. Before I started Thread Your Story; I had a similar experience and that is when I realized that if I wanted people to recognize me for my talent and the skill-set I bring to the table then I have to be the one who is vocal about it. Before I used to have the mindset that I have the skill-set and I just want someone to take a chance on me. But going through the experience of how PR can be in Japan; I realized that I should create the chance myself. So basically instead of waiting I decided to thread my own story.

Another reason why I started this is because of the people who I surround myself with; the clients that I am currently working with and the ones I am in the process of collaborating with are also my why for Thread Your Story. Small business owners can not afford PR or marketing agencies’ costs from the get-go and have to go about this on their own. In today’s digital environment brands not only have to focus on their actual product but also on their social media profiles. The amount of time it takes to come up with a social media strategy, network with content creators and the whole process of it all could be used instead to develop more products and make them more sustainable. Thread Your Story will give these businesses this type of PR support across social platforms; ultimately giving them their time back so they can focus on other aspects of their company.

What are your plans for the future?

In the future I hope to give Thread Your Story more structure as a communications agency that helps more brands become digital or ready for social media. But above that I want to create something, a platform, or a community; I don’t have it all figured out yet, but I want to create something for people in the coming generations especially girls who feel like they can’t do something and they need a role model. I want to be that role model or inspiration for someone who wants to forge their own path, and not worry about what people around them say.

And in ten years time, if the situation of girl child education and child marriages does not improve in India I really would love to start my own program to help girls be self-reliant so that they can stand up to people who force them into something that is of ill-fate in the name of tradition and culture.

What is the best about being who you are?

I think my favourite thing about myself is my ability to talk and my love for fashion. I love talking and I think that led to my passion for PR and Marketing. As for my love for fashion in all honesty, one of my biggest dreams in life is to have a huge walk in closet. My closet is my happy place and I cannot wait to have one where I can just walk in and feel happy and creative. Even as I think about this, I cannot wait to have a closet where when I walk in the lights come on and all my shoes start to sparkle in the skylights

What does your day look like?

My day currently is all over the place, I mean it’s 4 in the morning right now and I am answering questions here. 😂 But a majority of my day tends to be coming up with content plans; working on a social awareness project called Brown In Japan (@browninjapan) about people of color in Japan with a team of young activists here in Tokyo, a meeting or two; before I go to my part time job where I teach English. I kept my part time job as a way to get out of the house; because so much of working on my own I am basically talking to a laptop or a camera. And I spend a lot of time on TikTok and Instagram Reels; both of these platforms really help me stay creative and come up with potential marketing ideas that I can use as a content creator myself or help the entrepreneurs that I collaborate with.

The two things that I always make sure to do every night is to first go through my bullet journal and just check out all the tasks I have done and plan out what all I have to do the next day. I do this an hour or two before I go to bed so that I am not spending my day looking at my bullet journal and seeing how many tasks I check off. The second thing that I do which may be what keeps me collected is my night time skincare routine. I usually tend to rewatch an episode of Brooklyn 99, Modern Family or Patriot Act (depending on the kind of day I have had) and go about my skincare routine. These 20-25 minutes are my quiet time, where I am not looking at social media or replying to emails. To me it’s a ritual of taking off your makeup of the day, and taking the time to massage in each product and give yourself that time to unwind.

What business-related tips and advice do you have for our readers?

I think my biggest tip would be to read Aliza Licht’s book Leave Your Mark and listen to her podcast. Her book is what led me to identify my passion for PR and it also taught me how to interact with people for example when going to interviews or meetings because that’s not taught in universities or high schools. Another advice I would give is to keep taking courses like the one here on Empire Building Masterclass; find someone in your industry and take that class. Even if you think you know everything; masterclasses are a great way to keep it fresh in your memory and it helps you recharge and come up with new perspectives or techniques.

What mindset advice do you have for our readers?

The one thing I learned, when I finally shared about my battles of anxiety and depression with my friends and family in 2018, it felt like a weight had been lifted off of my shoulders. I am not saying that I don’t have bad days anymore. There still are and will be bad days; but I now know I have a support system. So my mindset advice would be take a deep breath, and call your best friends and just talk to them. And above all else have playlists for every mood, when you’re super happy and just want to dance, when you’re stressed, and when you just want to not feel numb. And I recommend Taylor Swift, Shawn Mendes, Camila Cabello, and Alessia Cara for everything.

You also joined one of our courses - which one? Why did you join it, and did it end up being helpful in any way?

I joined the complete course and the best part for me is the sense of community and the people I have connected with through the Facebook group. I have met people who are already successful in their businesses and people who are starting something new. The diverse community is so inspiring and it really pushes me to get out of my comfort zone and try and be more creative.

We are sure our readers would love to check out your website and your social media. Maybe you even have some special offers that our readers can grab!

Please go check out @shopaholicsharika on Instagram and YouTube for fashion, beauty and skincare content, and remember if something or someone is destined to be a part of your life, it will happen if you’re patient and you work hard on yourself to be better everyday.

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